Boeing’s chief lobbyist Keating leaves company, no reason given

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SEATTLE/WASHINGTON — Boeing Co’s veteran lobbyist and political strategist, Tim Keating, who helped steer the U.S. planemaker through its worst-ever crisis following fatal 737 MAX crashes, has left the company, it said on Monday.

An internal memo from Chief Executive Dave Calhoun to government operations employees, and a separate statement to media, confirmed Keating’s departure and the search for a permanent replacement, but offered no explanation or further details for what appeared to be an abrupt exit.

Marc Allen, Boeing’s chief strategy officer, would also take over Keating’s role until a permanent replacement is found, Calhoun said.

The U.S. planemaker came under intense scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators following fatal crashes of its 737 MAX jetliners in 2018 and 2019. The crashes plunged the company into its worst-ever crisis, one long-since compounded by the coronavirus pandemic.

Loren Thompson, a defense consultant with close ties to Boeing, said Keating had played a critical role in Boeing’s effort to manage a series of crises, including the 737 MAX saga, the loss of a major defense contract, and the sharp loss of revenue caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“Keating might not have stayed at Boeing as long as he did except out of a sense of responsibility because the company was in dire straits,” Thompson said.

The news was first reported by Defense One. (Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle, David Shepardson and Andrea Shalal in Washington; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)